Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • An asteroid named "Matilda" is on a collision course towards Earth and in three weeks the world will come to an absolute end. What would you do if your life and the world were doomed? One man decides to spend his time searching for his long lost love from high school during the coming catastrophe.

  • Earth is doomed to its end within three weeks, with the collision of the asteroid Matilda. The tranquil insurance agent Dodge is left by his wife Linda and tries to keep his routine life. Dodge meets his neighbor Penny that is depressed since she lost the last flight to her hometown to meet her parents and siblings and she delivers to him old correspondences that the postman had wrongly put in her mailbox. Dodge finds a letter from Olivia, who was his high school sweetheart, telling that she had divorced three months ago and missed him. When a rout invades their neighborhood breaking and burning everything, Dodge and Penny drive away from the city and they head to meet Olivia. But along their journey, they fall in love with each other, despite their difference of ages.

  • With all possible human intervention exhausted, the Earth will imminently be obliterated by a meteorite. As such, most people are putting known laws, rules and conventions aside as they plan for what they really want for the end of their life. Among those making such a decision is Linda Petersen, who leaves her insurance salesman husband Dodge Petersen without a word three weeks before doomsday. Now all alone in the world as his mother passed and his father abandoned the family when he was a child, Dodge does not want to find someone new and strike a relationship with her all in three weeks just to have someone with who to die, despite he marrying Linda so that he would not be all alone in the world. But he does begin to think about Olivia Covello, his high school sweetheart and who he now believes was and should be the love of his life. In these final weeks, Dodge meets his younger Brit downstairs neighbor Penny Lockhart, a hyper-insomniac once she does fall asleep and a vinyl audiophile. Penny is also somewhat alone now that she has broken up with her live-in boyfriend Owen and as her family is back in England. Out of circumstances, Dodge and Penny decide to help each other with their somewhat competing end of the world goals. First, Dodge, who has recently found out that Olivia feels the same about him, wants to find her, with only scant leads on her location. And second, Penny wants to be with her family in England, Dodge who knows a pilot with a plane that may be able to get her there. As they go on their road trip, they have to improvise as they hit one figurative roadblock after another, and deal with what end up being emerging new priorities.

  • In three weeks an asteroid will hit Earth, destroying all life on it. Dodge Petersen is unfazed by the news, a response which causes his wife Linda to leave him. While everyone else is behaving in typical fashion at the certainty of the world ending, Dodge carries on regardless, until he bumps into his neighbour Penny.

  • As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A broadcast announces that a seventy mile wide asteroid nicknamed 'Matilda' is on a collision course with Earth and that a last-ditch effort to destroy it has failed. The world has three weeks until impact, at which time all of humanity will be wiped out. Dodge Petersen (Steve Carell) and his wife, Linda (Nancy Carell), listen to the announcement (voice of Brad Morris) from their car radio at the side of the road. Seconds later, and without saying a word to him, Linda flees the vehicle.

    The next day, Dodge returns to a near empty workplace where he sells insurance. While everyone around him has reacted differently to the impending doom by either indulging in drugs or engaging in guilt-free sex, Dodge's life remains the same. Even the absence of his wife cannot shake the stagnant predictability of it. His housekeeper, Elsa (Tonita Castro), continues to show up at his apartment to clean despite Dodge's insistence that there is no further need to do so.

    After attending a friend's party, Dodge returns home and reminisces about his high school sweetheart, Olivia. He then notices his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) crying on the fire escape. She admits to him that she has just ended her relationship with her boyfriend Owen (Adam Brody) because he caused her to miss the last flight to England to see her family. Returning to her apartment, Penny gives Dodge a handful of mail she received for him but kept forgetting to deliver - indirectly telling him that Linda was having an affair.

    Dodge storms off into the night, guzzling cough syrup and Windex in an attempt to kill himself. The next morning, however, he regains consciousness and finds a note on his sweater reading "Sorry" accompanied by a dog (Aleister) tethered to his foot. He takes Sorry home and opens the rest of his mail where he is surprised to find a letter from Olivia. That night, a riot breaks out nearby. When a brick is thrown through his window, Dodge grabs Sorry and heads to Penny's apartment, urging she and Owen to leave with him. Penny rushes to grab her record collection and she and Owen follow him downstairs and outside to Penny's car...that has been boxed in by other cars. Owen steps out to give Penny guidance but impatiently berates her for what he sees as poor driving. Irritated and with the rioters quickly approaching, Penny slams on the gas, knocking the car in front of her out of the way and abandoning Owen. She tells a bewildered Dodge that Owen will be fine - as we see Owen pick up and throw a rock as he gets swept up in the riot.

    They drive out of town to avoid the riots, and Dodge tells Penny that, if she can drive him to find his high school sweetheart, he will take her to someone who can fly her to England to see her family. She agrees, however the car runs out of gas and Dodge and Penny are left to walk. Frustrated by the situation, Dodge snaps at Penny for failing to give him his mail in a timely manner, seeing that it would have given him all the time he needed to find Olivia. Feeling guilty for 'ruining his life', Penny hails an oncoming vehicle to take them to their respective destinations. The kindly trucker (William Petersen) picks them up and regales the couple with his life story. During a pit stop, Penny exits the truck and the trucker confronts Dodge on 'how he's going to do it'. He makes light of Dodge's confusion and is about to explain that he's hired an assassin to have himself killed. No sooner has he said this, when a bullet smashes through the front windshield and hits the trucker cleanly through the neck. Dodge watches as the assassin's car speeds off.

    Dodge and Penny bury the trucker and decide to take his truck further on...however they neglected to take the car keys out of the man's pocket, so they have to dig him up to get the keys. On the road again, they find a restaurant by the name of Friendsy's which appears to be alive with patrons. Hungry, Dodge and Penny enter and find the place buzzing with optimism and good cheer. Their host, Darcy T.J. Miller), cheerfully takes them to their table where Penny fibs that it's Dodge's birthday. The entire staff celebrates and Penny and Dodge are given inventive drinks and dishes, including a burger with a donut as a bun. After everyone sings the Friendsy's Birthday Song to Dodge, he get birthday kisses from the waitresses. Then so does Penny. As one of the waitresses drops to her knees under the table, Penny and Dodge run from the restaurant as everyone gets even friskier, including Darcy and waitress Katie (Gillian Jacobs).

    Penny and Dodge make it, laughing, to the truck and, on the spur of the moment, begin to make out and have sex. As they drive off, Dodge regrets his actions with a woman so young (Penny admits she's only 28) but she tells him it was merely end-of-the-world, casual sex. Soon after, they are pulled over by a policeman (Bob Stephenson), only when Dodge insists as Penny would rather try to outrun him. The officer demands to see Penny's license and registration despite her eloquent explanation to their predicament. When she admits that she has none of the required paperwork, the two are locked up in a holding cell at the station. The next morning, they are found by another officer (Jim O'Heir) who sympathetically releases them, cursing his subordinate for taking his quota too seriously. He gives them a lift to Camden where Penny's ex-boyfriend lives. He is named Speck (Derek Luke), a muscular, young military man who shows Penny and Dodge his titanium-walled shelter beneath his house. It is stocked with 6 month's worth of food and enough entertainment to last a lifetime. Speck is confident that his shelter will provide safety to survive the apocalypse for he and a few close friends. Penny notices a satellite phone, and Speck offers to let her call her family. While she is tearfully reunited with her parents and siblings over the phone, Speck bluntly tells Dodge that his company is no longer needed. Penny can stay, but he has to go. They need a healthy, young female to restart the human race.

    Penny requests from Speck one of his smart cars so that she can drive Dodge to where he needs to go. Speck agrees and makes her promise to return. Penny and Dodge track down Olivia's last known residence but the house is empty. Penny forces their entry and they find the home devoid of any inhabitants but stocked with food. They stay overnight and Penny plays some of her records on an old player they find. She also finds a letter from Olivia to her parents inside a kitchen drawer and sadly presents it to Dodge. Dodge says that the return address is not too far away. The next morning, they drive out to the house where Dodge walks up to the door alone before quickly returning to the car and driving off. Confused, Penny asks what happened. Dodge tells her that it appeared Olivia was home but he simply left her a letter on the doorstep.

    As they drive away, they nearly collide with a stream of couples and families crossing the road and making their way to a nearby beach. Dodge and Penny take Sorry and follow the assembly to the water's edge where each person is baptized under the hot sun. Standing on the shore, Dodge and Penny kiss, reaffirming their feelings for each other and, as the sun sets, they join the other people as they light bonfires and spend the waning hours playing music and socializing. Dodge teaches Penny how to play the harmonica before they return to the car.

    They continue on to Somerset County and stop at an isolated house. Dodge brings Penny to the door and they greet Frank (Martin Sheen) who recognizes Dodge and lets them in. He then reveals himself to be Dodge's estranged father, whom Dodge has not seen in twenty-five years. Penny is overwhelmed to meet him. While Penny freshens up before dinner, Dodge and Frank have a mild argument over Frank's absence in Dodge's life. Frank apologizes and, they reconcile.

    They all share a meal together and catch up on the time lost. After Penny falls asleep, Dodge carefully carries her outside where Frank is waiting in his plane to take her to England. Dodge rests her in the cockpit and gives her his harmonica as a keepsake, gingerly kissing her on the forehead and whispering that she is the love of his life. Dodge then shuts the door, nods to his father, and watches the plane fly away.

    He returns home to find Elsa in his apartment cleaning and she cheerily greets him. He angrily yells at her, telling her to go home to her family but, after seeing her confusion and despondence, apologizes for his outburst and tells her to forget it. She asks if she will see him the next week and leaves. Dodge turns on the television where the news anchorman (Mark Moses) announces that 'Matilda' is due to arrive prematurely and that only sixteen hours remain until impact. The anchorman thanks his audience for their attention before leaving to go home to his family, a statement that touches Dodge.

    Dodge goes to Penny's apartment and lies down on the floor, listening to her records before the power goes out. When he gets up, he finds Penny standing in the dark living room and she asks him how he could have left her. He admits that it was a stupid thing to do before they tearfully embrace. Shortly after, they lie in bed and Dodge asks Penny why she didn't go to her family. She tells him that her parents are romantics and will understand why she couldn't leave without Dodge. They talk about how things might have been between them if they'd known each other longer and Penny begins to panic as time grows short. Dodge calmly asks about her childhood and Penny tells him of her siblings and late sister, Patricia, as the first boom of impact sounds. Penny begins to cry and tells Dodge she's scared and wishes they could have saved each other. Dodge assures her that they did and smiles warmly at her. Penny smiles back, unafraid, as the screen brightens to white - then fades to black.

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